With a smile on his face walking to the podium, Josh McDaniels seemed to be in good spirits.
It was the first time the Raiders head coach had spoken with the local media in a little over a month. Following OTAs, staff and players took the opportunity to get away from football and mentally prepare for the upcoming season. While it's imperative for players to keep active during the break and stay in shape, McDaniels sees the benefits the relaxation has served for him and his team.
"Enjoy your family and relax, take some stress off your day-to-day routine and do things that you have the opportunity and the right to do at this time of the year," McDaniels said reflecting on the offseason. "And then when you're ready to come back, hopefully they report and they're refreshed and excited and rejuvenated and recharged. I think our staff did that a couple of days ago, and you could see that. I think the players reported much the same."
The Raiders veterans reported to Training Camp on Tuesday morning while rookies and quarterbacks arrived a few days ago. This will be McDaniels' second camp with the Las Vegas Raiders, with a lot to be settled going into the 2023 season. The influx of depth on the roster and new pieces will make for a competitive environment at all positions.
"[W]hen you know that there's guys in your room that are trying to earn playing time that would otherwise go to you, it just makes you work that much harder," said McDaniels. "It makes you study and prepare hard. ... Some positions, as you guys know, changed a little bit more than others this spring and this offseason, but I think we've tried to build competition at every spot we could.
"Now is the time for them to go out there and get opportunities and determine what their role is going to be. We've always told them that their role will be what they make it, and that means if they get opportunities and what they do with it, it's important."
McDaniels also discussed the quarterback position, specifically Jimmy Garoppolo. After missing all of OTAs due to a foot injury sustained last season, Garoppolo will have no restrictions once practices start Wednesday morning, according to the head coach. The former New England Patriot and San Francisco 49er provides a skill set and mentality McDaniels admires in his players, and he's hopeful the QB's return to the field will be seamless.
"We're excited about the things that he does well," McDaniels said of Garoppolo. "I know he's eager to try to improve on some things that maybe he didn't feel he was ready to do at a high level, and we'll try to address those and identify those as we go.
"But he's generally given his football team an opportunity to win and I think the most important number for me at that position – it's really the only one I care about – is does he get wins on the board? Generally, he has done that."
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Take an exclusive look outside Intermountain Health Performance Center as the Raiders arrive for 2023 Training Camp.